Historical participation of the Colombian delegation in the International IPT Physics Tournament, which for the second consecutive time was made up of the IPT student team from the School of Physics of the Industrial University of Santander, achieving an impressive fourth place, the best representation of the country in the world’s most important physics challenge fair.
The UIS team participated virtually in the twelfth edition of the International Physicists \ ‘Tournament, facing the teams of India, Russia and China in three intense battles in which the students of the University were able to demonstrate the high competitive level in which is the Colombian team.
In the first battle, the Colombia team was superior to the Indian team of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal, which allowed it to be placed in the third box at the start of the competition. The second battle faced Colombia and Russia, a team from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, in a sharp and even confrontation in which the national team tied on points with the delegation that would end the day as world champion.
The last match pitted the UIS students against the Nankai University students from team China, in a battle in which the two teams failed to draw differences in points.
At the end of the three fights the sum of the points placed Colombia in the fourth box above important teams such as Germany, France and Slovenia.
The protagonists speak
For Juan Manuel Pacheco, captain of the team, this is a historic moment for the Colombian physics academy. “This fourth place and the sixth that we achieved in the last edition show that the level that Colombia has is somewhat consistent, it is not the result of chance. We are good, we have worked hard enough to match countries with a lot of scientific tradition ”.
The ‘Capi’ also highlighted the responsibility of the University in this achievement, “this shows that the training and education that we have within the UIS is of the highest level, because we were fourth above Germany with the University of Munich that It has a scientific tradition that has allowed it to have 25 Nobel Prizes. Being above them seems remarkable to me, and from a personal point of view it is what satisfies us the most ”.
The path to reach this important moment has been marked by sacrifices, efforts and great teamwork. “We started this process two years ago when we participated for the first time. This has been bearing fruit, allowing each time a better representation of Colombia. We are gaining trajectory as UIS and as a country, this is the important thing about this fourth place. There is a lot of work behind this, not only we students, but also the teachers and the institutions that support us, ”says Laura Natalia Martínez.
The balance is positive, and the members of the Colombian team feel it. Lucía Oliveros Gómez expresses it this way: “despite the atypical conditions, we were able to deal with the problems in the best possible way, and represent the country well enough to be proud of this. We have been a reference for people to get closer to science and discover that it is fun and exciting. We as a country have how to be competitive, our knowledge is at the level of large countries ”.
For the members of the Colombian team, this was an unforgettable and enriching experience. “It was an opportunity to learn to solve really difficult problems and defend these solutions with arguments. Besides being able to converse with people from other cultures, it led us to discover that the language of science is universal ”, says Eduardo Hernández Cely.
The IPT allowed the exchange of knowledge between the different teams and forging ties that can be productive for future scientific developments. “The connection we have with the whole world from physics, chemistry, mathematics and other sciences, allows us to approach the same problems and despite the fact that it is a universal language, we arrive at different descriptions that can be equally valid and even join them to improve the detail of the phenomena. This is very beautiful and prompts us to later be able to describe more significant phenomena, it is something beautiful about this tournament ”, adds Cristian Rolando Carvajal.
One of the aspects that this team is most proud of is being able to be seen as a model of inspiration for those students who are taking their first steps in the scientific world. This is how Steven Fernando Rico explains it: “this tournament in its virtual mode allowed the general public to participate. We have students from the first semesters of Physics who are very interested in IPT equipment. Receiving messages from race colleagues telling us that they were excited and that they want to participate in the next editions is very gratifying. We are helping to promote physics in the minds of young people who are starting in this scientific world ”.
Another important achievement within the Colombian team is that of Juan Manuel Pacheco, who managed to establish himself as the Best average opponent, a title given to the participant with the best average score as ‘Opponent’ within the battles.
The UIS team managed to earn the privilege of representing Colombia in the IPT International Tournament by winning the qualifying phase last December in Medellín.